Death Valley National Park, Ca
My trip to Death Valley was a rather unique one. It was more of a bike ride for an adventure than anything else. I participated in the Badwater Basin to Mount Whitney bike ride. This is a 134.6 miles of torture, fatigue, and pure exhaustion. I rode with a group of 6 other riders. Each one of us lived in a different city when we did the ride so we had tot rain on our own. For me knowing I was going to be riding with this group helped push me to keep training.
Our team broke the ride up over 2 days. Some of the stronger riders were able to complete the task in one day, but with each of us being working professionals we simply weren’t able to complete enough training leading up to ride 140 miles in one day. Especially when you consider the fact that the ride starts at the lowest elevation of the continental united states. . Death Valley gets as low as 280 feet below sea level and Mount Whitney reaches a peak of 14,495 feet. Needless to say this bike ride we completed had a lot of uphill riding.
For me and Dave one of the other riders this proved especially difficult. At the time I lived in Los Angeles and hill training was difficult. Dave who lived in Chandler Arizona and has his own carpet cleaning company he had an even harder time training on hills. While Chandler AZ in the summer is crazy hot in the summer just like death valley the constant altitude climb proved to be incredibly difficult for both of us. Chris who actually lived in Mammoth which is nearly 8,000 feet in elevation the ride proved to be much easier for him.
This experience was both painful and satisfying. Once I got past my legs constantly pulsing from the constant peddling and realized how far I could push my body I found myself energized at what my body and mind could be pushed to accomplish. When we hit out camp for the first nights sleep I could barely walk as I stepped off my bike.
My legs seems confused to be back on solid ground and not peddling my bike. I was tired in fact exhausted by the days ride, especially since the wind picked up during the second half of the ride and caused us to be on the bike nearly 45 minutes longer than we anticipated. I was tired bit didn’t want to sit down. When grabbed food, drank some water and shortly after I crashed in my sleeping bag t catch some rest.
Day two proved to be harder. The climbing become more steep, my legs were fighting lactic acid, and my lungs were fighting for air as we climbed higher and higher in altitude. I could feel my body longing for the more oxygen rich reality of sea level. As a group we pressed on. Chris would often take the lead and allow Dave and I to draft off the back of his wheel. Periodically Jelani would take the lead and allow Chris to regain his legs. The pace wasn’t fast by any means, but at certain points every peddle seems to put a new level of stress on my body.
When we finally arrived I was both satisfies and exhausted. I knew it was a great experience. One I would look back on with fond memories. Also an experience in which I would never look to duplicate. But lowest to highest point was the goal, and we did it.